As the summer break comes to an end, it’s time for students to put away their beach towels and dust off their backpacks as they prepare to head back to school. While the start of a new academic year can be exciting, it also brings about a sense of change and adjustment. As a parent, you play a pivotal role in easing this transition for your child.
For some Black students, school can be pretty rough. Young Black scholars face constant pressure to maintain good grades and excel in all of their classes and extracurricular activities. At times, living up to the beacon of Black excellence can lead to burnout and other serious mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
To make matters even worse, Black students are at risk of encountering bullying and racial trauma at school. According to a survey by the AAkoma Project, about 53% of Black youth experience moderate to severe depression from racism and racial bullying during their time at school. Around 20% have been exposed to racial trauma often throughout their educational journey.
It’s important to keep these critical factors in mind as our children gear up for another busy school year. Support and guidance will play a vital role in making sure our kids feel safe, happy and empowered to return to school with their heads held high. By establishing routines, rekindling learning habits, addressing anxieties and fostering a positive outlook, you’re setting your child up for a successful and enjoyable academic year. Remember, a well-prepared student is a confident and empowered one, ready to take on the challenges and triumphs that a new school year brings.
Here are a few ways you can effectively prepare your child for another busy school year.
- Establish a Routine Early: Transitioning from the laid-back days of summer to the structured schedule of school can be challenging. To mitigate this, start re-establishing a routine a week or two before school begins. Gradually adjust bedtimes, wake-up times, and meal schedules to match the school day routine. This will help your child adapt more easily to the upcoming changes.
- Rekindle Learning Habits: Encourage your child to engage in activities that stimulate their learning skills. Reading books, solving puzzles, or even exploring educational apps can help reignite their intellectual curiosity and get them mentally prepared for schoolwork.
- Refresh Academic Skills: Spend some time reviewing the material from the previous grade, especially in subjects where your child might need a refresher. This can boost their confidence as they step into the new grade.
- Shop for School Supplies: Involve your child in shopping for school supplies. Let them pick out notebooks, pens, and other essentials. This not only creates excitement but also gives them a sense of ownership over their back-to-school experience.
- Organize the Study Space: Create a dedicated study space at home that is quiet, well-lit, and stocked with supplies. Having an organized workspace will help your child concentrate on their studies and establish good study habits from the outset.
- Review Goals and Expectations: Discuss your child’s goals for the upcoming school year. Whether it’s improving grades, making new friends, or participating in extracurricular activities, setting expectations and aspirations can motivate them to put their best foot forward.
- Manage Anxiety: Going back to school can trigger anxiety in some students. Openly discuss any concerns your child might have and offer reassurance. If you have a younger child, arrange playdates with classmates or coordinate fun outdoor activities for your child to enjoy before or during the school year to help alleviate any social anxiety. If bullying or racial incidents should occur, listen to your child and help them to navigate their concerns.
- Visit the School: If possible, visit the school a few days before it starts. Walk around the campus, locate classrooms, and perhaps even meet the teachers. Knowing school faculty, the principal, and other officials will be helpful if issues do arise for your child at school. Familiarity will also help to reduce first-day jitters and build trust for your child.
- Plan Healthy Meals: Ensure your child starts the day with a nutritious breakfast and provide healthy snacks for school. Proper nutrition contributes to their overall well-being and concentration in class.
- Foster a Positive Attitude: Set a positive tone by showing enthusiasm for the upcoming school year. Share your own school memories, and emphasize that each school year brings new opportunities for growth and learning. You can also practice “I am” affirmations in the morning with your child to boost their confidence as they head in for another busy school year.
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